Bloomsday and James Joyce’s Ulysses
Bloomsday occurs on June 16th thanks to Joyce’s Ulysses, because everything in that 900-page tome happens in Dublin on that day. Festivities often include a full Irish breakfast, people dressed in Edwardian costume, treks around Dublin that trace the steps of Ulysses protagonist Leopold Bloom, and drinking. Lots of drinking. Some serious fans even hold readings of the whole thing. And it’s not just Dublin – Szombathely, Hungary, where Leopold Bloom’s father was born, holds a celebration every year as well. Trieste, Italy, where the first part of the novel was written, also throws a big party, especially since the Joyce museum opened on – when else? – June 16, 2004. We even get into it here in the States – the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, which is where Joyce’s handwritten version of Ulysses now resides, holds an annual street fair with readings of the novel and Irish music and food.
Via Open Culture
Published in serial format between 1918 and 1920, James Joyce’s Ulysses was initially reviled by many and banned in the US and UK until the 1930s. Today, it’s widely considered a classic in modernist literature, and The Modern Library went so far as to call it the most important English-language novel published during the 20th century. Although chronicling one ordinary day in the life of Leopold Bloom in 1904 Dublin, Ulysses is no small work. It sprawls over 750 pages, using over 250,000 words, and takes over 32 hours to read aloud.
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